Motifs, contradictions, changed orientations in gallery shows
The Boston Globe - 09/22/2015
Also at NAGA, Sophia Ainslie’s abstract paintings on paper have the whizzbang crispness, tangy hues, and brio of comic book graphics, although they’re made with tiny, almost imperceptible brushstrokes.
Ainslie uses an X-ray of her late mother’s abdomen, taken to better see her cancer, as a starting point. She’s been using the X-ray as source material for years, and early on it was easy to read grief and grappling into her works. Now they feel playful. The flat blocks of color reprise the X-ray’s solid forms, but from there the artist paints elastic rivers of black and white.
Some paintings resemble white-water landscapes, as in the downward, arcing rush in “In Person — Highrise.” But much depends on format, orientation, and the gestures Ainslie chooses. In “In Person — 3.3.2,” the swirl of black-and-white dancing with the shards of color hint at a figure in the middle of it all: a head, outstretched arms or majestic wings, bold as an archangel making an annunciation.